In most Toastmasters clubs the speech Timer communicates with the speaker via a “traffic light” box. For a 5-to-7 minute speech the bottom, green light is turned on after 5 minutes. The middle yellow light replaces it after 6 minutes. Finally the top red light is turned on after 7 minutes, and the speaker has 30 seconds to wrap up. Currently Toastmasters sells two models of manual traffic lights - the $65 #6997 and the $185 #7010. Great Timer sells a programmable LED timer for $229.
While I was looking on Amazon I found another interesting $30 product called the American Innovative Lecture Timer and Roadshow Travel Alarm. (Toastmasters sells it as their item #6801). First, it is a travel alarm clock. Second, it has a row of six colored LEDs that provide a bar chart of the elapsed fraction of time for a speech. It is small enough to put on any lectern. But, what if the speaker doesn’t stand behind there? Why can’t we show the speaker a similar bar graph of where he is relative to his allotted time?
The display shown above, of a box with a row of seven lights turned on at one-minute intervals, is one way this could be done. A row of cards or blocks would serve the same function. Imagine giant Scrabble tiles in a holder, or a row of seven flip cards.
In a post on March 1, 2011 I discussed a speech about Timing Tiles.